And Another Awesome Author Visit: Claudia Gray from And Another Book Read. Peek: “I see some of myself in virtually all the characters. I think that’s fairly important, really–to identify with everyone, at least a little bit. (Maybe not Erich, though.)”
By Request: Letting the Reader In, Pulling the Reader In–Part Deux, Of Bridge Conflicts and Withdrawn Protagonists by R. L. La Fevers from R. L. LaFevers: One author’s thoughts on writing, storytelling, publishing, and everything in between. Peek: “You have to have a fairly firm grasp of both the internal and external character/plot arcs in your novel. If you don’t understand what is emotionally driving your characters’ actions, then you can’t show it to the reader.” Read a Cynsations interview with R. L. LaFevers on Werewolf Rising.
Fiction with Fangs by Tanita Davis (TadMack) and Sarah Stevenson (a.fortis) from The Edge of the Forest. Peek: “Yes, all discussion of hotties aside…and pushing aside our biases…we thought we’d share with you what :01 First Second has been up to vampire-wise, along with a few other bloodsucker tales which have had us…uh…drooling.” Check out what else is new at The Edge.
When the lady prefers Gentile men by Steve Hatch of The Boston Globe. Peek: “[Melissa R.] Schorr is the author of “Goy Crazy,” a fictionalized account of her experiences dating non-Jewish men in the face of family pressure to do otherwise. The lessons that Schorr, 35, learned growing up in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, are incorporated in the book and in the talks she gives to teenage readers.” Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.
Casting the Spell: Fairy Tales in Novel Form by Terrell A. Young and Barbara A. Ward from Book Links. Peek: “These enchanting novels based on fairy tales will have teens and tweens asking for more.”
Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Book Trailer Contest by Laurie Halse Anderson from Mad Woman in the Forest. Peek: “Contest is open to anyone on the Planet Earth. Teens working aboard the space station are welcome too. Entries from other planets and galaxies will be considered, as long as they can be watched on Earth-created technologies.”
Back to the Janes: Castellucci and Rugg on Janes in Love by Jack Smith from Newsarama. Peek: “I love it when a gentleman comes and says that they picked it up for their wife, daughter, niece, girlfriend, who never read a graphic novel before, or were resistant to comics and that those ladies enjoyed it so much that they were open to checking out other comics. I also really love that many of those gentlemen enjoyed the Plain Janes themselves. That’s the best.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cecil.
SCBWI Houston is sponsoring a “Nuts and Bolts” Picture Book Writing Workshop taught by award-winning author, Kathi Appelt Sept. 6. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., lunch included. Before July 8, $40 members of SCBWI, $50 nonmembers. After July 8, prices go up $10. See details. Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.
Apparently, We’re Buying Fewer Books, But Going to Bookstores to Get Them from Galley Cat at Media Bistro. Note: support brick-and-mortar bookstores!
The Whole Novel and Nothing But the Whole Novel: a week-long series from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: Author Stephanie Greene says: “It’s so easy to become bogged down in trying to create a memorable plot, while sketching an empathetic character who speaks with realistic dialogue that works as hard as dialogue needs to in portraying that character while moving the plot along and helping create secondary characters. To say nothing of keeping an eye on that narrative arc and the underlying emotional arc while seeing to it that both arcs are pulling their weight through a strong middle, right up to a satisfying and exciting climax, then gently descending to an inevitable, yet surprising, ending. It’s a marvel any of us has the courage to try.” Note: possibly the best quote ever.
Do teenage boys need books with weak female characters? by Colleen at Guys Lit Wire. Peek: “But the girl must be saved by the boy for the boy to feel powerful? How do these gentlemen think it makes the girl feel to have to wait to be saved? Have they ever thought about that at all?” Note: don’t miss the comments.
Amjed Qamar: official site from the debut author of Beneath My Mother’s Feet (Simon & Schuster, 2008)(excerpt)(reading guide). See also: an interview with Amjed by Mary Lee at A Year of Reading. Peek: “…growing up as the only Muslim child in my most of classes, I can honestly say that I never had any issues in school or with the teachers. My teachers were amazing, wonderful people.”
Midnighters in Japan by Scott Westerfeld at Westerblog. Peek: “What I love about these interpretations is how they’re simultaneously literal and surreal. All three use scenes directly from the book, but they also have a trippiness about them: the close up on the raindrops, the huge moon, the distended human figures.” Read a Cynsations interview with Scott.
New “Edge of the Forest,” and Blogging Thoughts from Chicken Spaghetti. Peek: “Are some people turned off to the kid-book blogs because there are so many? Is it hard for a general non-kid-lit-affiliated person to know where to start reading? Are we bloggers reaching our target audience, and, if not, how do we do so?” Source: Gail Gauthier. See also Interview with Gail Gauthier by Kelly Herold at The Edge of the Forest.
Interview with April Lurie from Becky’s Book Reviews. Peek: “I never thought I would write about this crazy time in my life, but the process turned out to be quite therapeutic. Also, I think (at least I hope) it’s my funniest book to date.” See also a Cynsations interview with April.
Making School Assemblies Fun: “Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt, author of award-winning children’s books, including You Think it’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, offers tips on creating a successful school program” from The Polka Dot Banner: An Author’s Gathering Place.
Asian Pacific American Librarian Awards from Mitali Perkins (author interview) at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “The prizes promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and are awarded based on literary and artistic merit.”
“Facing the Feedback” by Nancy Viau from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Generous Author even offers to become Sara’s mentor, and will look at a revision. Terrific, right? Wrong. Sara is not thrilled.”
Question of the Week Thursday: Todd Strasser by Robin Friedman from Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “How has the field of YA changed?” Peek: “One day my agent called and said an editor named Ferdinand Monjo wished to have lunch with me. Was I interested? At the time I was working my way through a case of tuna fish, purchased in bulk, to save money. I probably would have gone to lunch with Charles Manson if he’d asked.”
Why Publishers Should Blog by Kassia Krozser from Booksquare. Peek: “Just as authors need to better market themselves and their books, so do publishers. While the audience for a publisher website is diverse — authors, booksellers, journalists, agents, readers, and more — talking about books on your website the same way you talk about books in your catalog simply isn’t cutting it.”
10 Simple Rules for Librarians  from Kane/Miller Kidlit. Peek: “Do not wear any dress more than 2″ above the ankle.”
June Carnival of Children’s Literature–Fathers in Children’s Books by Susan Taylor Brown from Susan Writes. Peek: “The theme of fathers in children’s books brought posts of the good, the bad, and even a bit of Dr. Seuss.” Read a Cynsations interview with Susan.
Paulette Molin’s American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature: a resource book recommended by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “…an excellent book out that librarians and teachers should add to their shelves…” Note: Debbie also recommends Red Ink Magazine, which looks very cool.
Out of New England by Tasha Tudor from The Horn Book (“From the November 1941 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.” Peek: “Autumn, and wild geese flying, blue grapes and golden leaves.” Note: I know it’s a busy time, with ALA and more, but take a moment to read and remember.
Author-illustrator Jean Gralley, a modern-day pioneer in digital stories, wishes Marianne Carus, founder of the Cricket Magazine Group, a happy 80th birthday! Watch it here! Note: Jean is the former Staff Artist of Cricket Magazine. Check out her digital stories. Read a Cynsations interview with Jean.
Author Interview: Stacy DeKeyser by Chelsie from Read, Read, Read. Peek: “I started and stopped writing several times, because as my first novel I didn’t always know what I was doing! I got stuck a lot too, because I knew the beginning, and I knew the ending, but I had no idea what was going to happen in the middle.”
Last chance to enter! The Cynsations grand-prize June giveaway is an autographed hardcover set of First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Dutton, 2007) and First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton, 2008), both by Mitali Perkins. Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.
To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST June 30! Please also type “First Daughter” in the subject line. Note: one autographed set will be awarded to any Cynsations YA reader.
Note: I’m not able to reply to all of the entry emails, but I greatly appreciate them. Look for more Cynsational giveaways in July!
Slumber Party @ Teen Fest: April Lurie (author interview)(MySpace), Jennifer Ziegler (author interview)(MySpace), and Cynthia Leitich Smith will join forces in a “lively, intimate discussion about books and writing for teen girls” at noon Aug. 2 at Carver Branch Library/Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas. The event will include a book signing, “games, snacks, beauty tips, and even a passionate reading contest. Pajamas and pillows optional!”
Austin SCBWI‘s “A Day with an Editor” featuring Jill Santopolo, author and senior editor at Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, and Cynthia Leitich Smith will be Sept. 13. “Mark your calendars now and prepare to register early as this event is expected to be a sellout. Registrations will open around July 1, and registration forms will be available at Austin SCBWI.” Note: Jill is interested in literary novels, quirky middle grades, and picture books. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and is the author of Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure (Scholastic/Orchard, 2008).
In the U.S. and Canada, Tantalize is available in prose from Candlewick Press (the paperback release date is July 22!) and on audio from Listening Library. You also can order it from Walker Books Australia and New Zealand. The novel will be released by Walker U.K. this fall, and more oversees editions are pending–I’m just waiting for the final paperwork to announce another one.